Jackson Prep football player Wilbanks dies



By John Davis

Oxford Citizen

Walker Wilbanks, the Jackson Prep lineman who left Friday night’s football game against Oxford in distress, died on Monday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

“My heart is broken,” Jackson Prep headmaster Jason L. Walton wrote in a letter released Monday afternoon. “We have been notified by the family of the passing of Walker Wilbanks.”

Wilbanks, 17, left Friday’s game during the second half, saying he did not feel well in the hot conditions on the field. After evaluation on the sidelines, he was taken to Baptist Medical Center.

According to reports, he was cramping and vomited when he arrived at the hospital, then suffered a seizure.

Later, he was moved to the Med’s neuroscience intensive care unit and was listed in critical condition.

Letter from Jackson Prep headmaster

The news of Wilbanks’ passing was sobering for Oxford coach Johnny Hill, who said Wilbanks was making play after play against his team when he watched the replay on video.

Oxford won, 26-21.

“My heart just goes out to his parents, his family, the whole Jackson Prep team and community,” Hill said. “I can’t imagine what they are going through. This just puts a different perspective on what we do as coaches, the perspective of how important football is compared to real life.”

Hill said he was texted some encouraging information on Sunday about Wilbanks’ condition – that his blood pressure was better, color had returned to his face and he had moved his arm.

In his letter, Walton said Wilbanks played on the school’s state championship football and baseball teams and was on the track team. Walton described Wilbanks as a “loving, caring, and charismatic young man.”

Funeral arrangements were pending at First Baptist Church of Jackson. A prayer service was held at Jackson Prep’s gym on Monday night.


  • 1941641

    The journal is known to hide news from its readers. Today, is no different, I see!!

    • Cletus Snow

      And Michael Brown would still be alive today if he’d just gotten on the sidewalk like he was told and kept his hands to himself like his daddy should have taught him years ago.

      • Winston Smith

        You know nothing Cletus Snow.

      • 1941641

        When you were a young 18 yr. old kid, Cleotus, did you always do what you were told to do, never strayed from the chosen/correct path? If you did, Mr. Snow, you were a very exceptional kid, maybe too exceptional to the point of being a nerd, maybe?

        • Cletus Snow

          No, number man, I did not. But I also did not put myself in situations where an officer felt it necessary to draw his weapon… And I certainly never attacked an officer nor tried to get his weapon. If an officer told me to do something, I did it. That thug would be alive today if he’d done just that.

          • 1941641

            Mr. Snow, do you have proof-positive evidence now, before this investigation is even complete, that the subject police officer had a substantive reason to draw his weapon on this black boy of 18? Maybe you should calm yourself down and wait for more substantial facts before you let it all out that you are prone toward a racist’s viewpoint in this case. That “injured eye socket” claim from the shooter police officer may have already been debunked.

            By the way, Cleotus, I’m proud of my number code which, for your information, also describes me as A Tupelo MS Liberal! Have a Nice Day, Mr. Snow.

      • TWBDB

        Mr Snow, we are always so quick to judge the victim in these cases. I too, said exactly the same thing you did when I first heard about the Michael Brown case.
        But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there’s not one reason for his death, not one. He presented no life-threat to the officer whatsoever. Before the fatal shot, he’d received severe injuries requiring medical attention: injuries severe enough that he by then posed no physical threat to the officer. I can think of a dozen alternatives this officer could have taken other than taking this man’s life.

        The M Brown case is one, like the tragedy of this young man dying in a summer football game, that we should learn from in honor of his their lives.

    • ripleyreb

      I would think a little compassion would be a little more in order for this article than trying to put blame on somebody for something that could NOT have been prevented.

      • 1941641

        “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s universal works all over the world. Yes, I believe it could have been prevented.

        • Cletus Snow

          I will go with the medical professional’s opinion. The only way this could have been prevented was if he did not play. He did everything he was supposed to do. His body simply lost sodium faster than he could replace it.

          • 1941641


            I don’t know if you take an aspirin daily for a blood thinner or not. My doctor always asks me before I leave his office if I am being sure to take my aspirin faithfully every single day? It’s a simple way to fend off strokes, etc.. he explains. The aspirin per day is called ‘Preventative Medicine’. When you take extra salt in your system preparing for some heated activity on a hot August day in Mississippi that, too, I classify as ‘preventative medicine.’ Millions take their extra salt under the circumstances I described.

            I have a clue you are not a fan of extra salt in extreme weather. That’s OK, Cleotus. I promote the salt concept publicly because it can be a life-safer, I guarantee it! Dont’ go outside, I tell people, in the extreme heat and over-exercise without a salt source (tablet or food) close by or taken before exercise commences.

        • ripleyreb

          The Specialist said it was a freak occurance and nothing He ( the player) nor the Staff could have been done to prevent it. The only way to prevent it would have been not to have played at all. I know the Jackson Prep coaches and training staff personally and they pride themselves for preparing their players, not only on game day, but all week. I have seen every game that they have played the last four years and have not one time seen a player at Prep come out of a game because of cramps. That tells you they are prepared and make sure the players are well hydrated. The good Lord just had greater plans in mind.

          • 1941641

            So, “the good Lord had greater plans.” And, I’m so glad he is your Lord and not mine! Your Lord started out by creating a lot of people, then he decided he didn’t approve of them so he sent the Great Deluge to drown them all but a select few. Your Lord was Insane!

            But the real truth is that Apes Created Man, Man Created God! Consequently, Life continues to evolve on Earth just like it started out.

          • Guest

            Ok. Now I understand your lack of compassion.I’m sure you don’t want it but I’ll say a prayer anyway.

          • ripleyreb

            OK. Now I understand your lack of compassion.I know you don’t want it, but I’ll say a prayer for you anyway

          • 1941641

            Say all the prayers you want to say. I not worried about my lack of compassion! I’m worried about your lack of compassion for the deceased. Pray long and loud assuming God will even hear you! Ask for His forgiveness in earnest. God exists everywhere at the same time. Get started, now!

          • ripleyreb

            You are mistaken. I have much compassion and love for that young man. I have shed many tears for him and his family this week. You see, I knew Walker and it hurts to see people like you blaming him and others for something that could not have been prevented. He will be missed, but he will never be forgotten by the people that loved him.

          • 1941641

            Go back and read my posts again and see if I have ever blamed Walker for his death. Your problem is you feel guilt pangs so you picked me out of the all the commenters to blame for your misdeeds. When you pray pray for god to forgive you for your blatant sins in this event. If you were his friend why did you stand around watching him sweat the salt from his body until he was dead. Are you an idiot that knows nothing about life functions? I’d say yes, yes, yes!!!!!!!!!!!! A sack of salty potato chips and a bottle of water might have saved him that hot, humid day. Where were you?